Mega Millions is available to play in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There were six participating states – Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Virginia – for the first draw in August 1996, when it was called The Big Game.
Mega Millions Winners by State
Use the table below to find out how many jackpot winners there have been in each participating state since Mega Millions began. The numbers here are updated shortly after the winning location of a jackpot winner has been announced.
|State||Jackpot Winners||Percentage of Total Jackpot Winners||Claims Period||Year Joined||State Tax Rate|
|New York||38||17.04%||1 year||2002||8.82%|
|New Jersey||25||11.21%||1 year||1999||3%|
|North Carolina||2||0.90%||180 days||2010||5.75%|
|New Hampshire||1||0.45%||1 year||2010||0%|
|Rhode Island||1||0.45%||1 year||2010||5.99%|
|South Carolina||1||0.45%||180 days||2010||7%|
|District of Columbia||0||0%||180 days||2010||8.5%|
|Mississippi||0||0%||180 days||2020||3% to 5%|
|New Mexico||0||0%||90 days||2010||6%|
|North Dakota||0||0%||180 days||2010||2.9%|
|South Dakota||0||0%||180 days||2010||0%|
|Virgin Islands||0||0%||6 months||2010||0%|
|West Virginia||0||0%||180 days||2010||6.5%|
|*Players in California have one year from the date of the draw to come forward and claim a jackpot prize, and 180 days for all other prizes|
There have been three unclaimed Mega Millions jackpots since 2002. A $68 million jackpot was unclaimed in New York in December 2002, followed by an unclaimed $46 million top prize in Brooklyn, New York, in April 2003. The owner of a winning ticket worth $31 million also failed to come forward to claim their prize in Queens, New York, in August 2006.
Differences between States
There are some differences between states when it comes to playing Mega Millions. Find out more about what some of the main variances are below, including the process of buying tickets, adding the Megaplier option, and retaining your anonymity when you win the jackpot.
Mega Millions tickets can be bought for $2 from any one of the participating states. Prizes, however, can only be claimed from the state the ticket was bought in. Prizes cannot be claimed from elsewhere, so players must return to the relevant state to redeem their prize. Players don’t have to be a resident of a particular state or a U.S citizen to play and can still enter even if they don’t live in a participating state.
Tickets can be bought from most states providing players are over 18 years of age. The exceptions to this rule are Arizona, Iowa and Louisiana, where ticket holders must be 21, and Nebraska, where it’s available to those 19 years of age and over.
Megaplier not available in California
The Megaplier can be added onto a Mega Millions ticket for an extra $1 per line in all participating states except for California. That’s because lottery prizes in California are calculated on a pari-mutuel basis, meaning that prize amounts can change depending on how many entries there are in a particular draw. The Megaplier multiplies prizes by a fixed amount, which is incompatible with the pari-mutuel structure.
States That Allow Anonymity
There are eight states that allow Mega Millions winners to remain anonymous. These are Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas. This means that jackpot winners in these states can choose between going public and remaining anonymous.
Jackpot winners in other states must go public with their win. A winner’s name and hometown or city are usually disclosed in these instances, but private details such as a telephone number and home address are always kept private. It is advisable to check with your state lottery to find out how much of your personal information will be made public in the event of a jackpot win.
The length of time winners have to claim a Mega Millions prize varies from state to state, ranging from 90 days up to one year. A full list can be found in the table above. Players who have bought a ticket from a retailer should always sign the back of it and keep it in a safe place. In most states, winnings worth up to $599 can be collected from any licensed retailer. Prizes above this value are normally redeemed through lottery claim centers, whilst jackpots are handled by state lottery headquarters.
Any Mega Millions winnings must be declared on an income tax form, and 25 percent federal tax is taken on all amounts over $5,000. Winnings below $5,000 are normally exempt from taxes, and state taxes must also be paid, depending on a winner’s location. The rate of tax to pay in each state is shown in the table above. Further advice should be sought from a professional financial advisor.
Mega Millions is available to play in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Read more about Mega Millions participating states here.
Here are the states with the most Mega Millions jackpot winners
When it comes to selling the most winning tickets, New York wins.
Winning Mega Millions jackpot sold in California
Last week’s Mega Millions jackpot winner may have been in California, but when it comes to selling the most winning tickets, New York walks away with the top prize.
Residents of the state have won the lottery game’s jackpot a whopping 35 times in the last 16 years, ahead of even California, which sold the winning ticket 30 times in its 13 years of participation in the game.
A surprising third? New Jersey.
With one-fourth of the population of California, and one-eighteenth its size, the East Coast state has punched far above its weight in the Mega Millions stakes, selling the winning ticket 20 times since 2002.
To Victor Matheson, a professor of economics at the College of the Holy Cross, though, New Jersey’s successful run isn’t really that surprising. He said the reason lies in the history of the game.
“In the beginning, Mega Millions was not adopted nationwide by all states,” Matheson said. “For roughly the first 20 years of the big multi-state lotteries, America actually had two separate lotteries — one, the Powerball, the other, Mega Millions, and the two were run by totally separate organizations and weren’t allowed to sell tickets in the same states. And then there were some states that weren’t part of either organization.”
Two of New Jersey’s neighboring states, Pennsylvania and Delaware, didn’t join the Mega Millions member states until January 2010, when the two lotteries agreed on a merger and 23 additional state lotteries joined them. So residents in the two states turned to their neighbor instead.
“New Jersey got a lot of wins back in the old days when you could only buy one type of multi-state lottery ticket in each state,” said Matheson. “It was the place that huge numbers of people would come across the border and buy a Mega Millions ticket even if they couldn’t buy that ticket in their own state.”
Fifteen of the 20 times New Jersey has sold the winning ticket since 2002 were before 2010.
Matheson said there are other factors that tilt the jackpot scale towards states like California, New York and New Jersey.
“We find people somewhat more likely to buy lottery tickets in places that are fairly urban,” Matheson said. “And I imagine the reason for that is it’s just more sales opportunities. If you’re a farmer way out in rural Nebraska you may not have as many opportunities to go into the convenience store to buy tickets.”
The second factor that affects the number of lottery jackpot wins, Matheson said, is religion.
“Places that are particularly conservative religiously tend to not have lotteries and Utah is one example,” he said. “It’s probably the most conservative state in the United States in terms of religion. And they don’t have a lottery at all.”
There are currently six states that don’t participate in the Mega Millions: Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, and Utah.
When it comes to selling the most winning tickets, New York wins.